This is a killer of a book, period. Probably the best of Koontz's career to date.
Because Chris Snow has xeroderma pimentosum -- a rare, and usually fatal, genetic disorder -- even a brief exposure to sunlight can cause irreparable damage leading to blindness and fatal skin cancers. So Snow only comes at night. The novel opens with the death of Snow's father, a tragic, but seemingly innocent incident that tears open the fabric of Snow's life. He soon becomes embroiled in a conspiracy that seems to involve everyone in the small town of Moonlight Bay, where Snow has spent his entire life.
The whole book, except for the last few pages, takes place during one night, making for a riveting, fast-paced read that still has time for thoughtful speculations and wonderful characters. If you've never tried Koontz before, this is the place to start, while for longtime readers, I need say no more than that this is Koontz writing at the peak of his form.
Charles de Lint
. . . even though practically nothing in its plot is what it appears to be, 'Fear Nothing is surprisingly flat. . . . Koontz's penchant for surfer lingo and literary pretension has drained most of the suspense from this overwrought narrative. -- New York Times
"Monkeys. The end of the world by monkeys." These words from Koontz's new book describe, to a limited extent, its plot. There are monkeys, certainly, and the world as we know it does come to an end, certainly, but little else is for certain in the town of Moonlight Bay, California. This is the little seacoast town where Christopher Snow lives. The town's name is an apt one, for Chris lives by necessity in a world of moonlight and darkness. He suffers from an extremely rare genetic disorder that makes him dangerously vulnerable to light. He must live out his life when most people are asleep. Nearly the entire plot takes place over the course of one particularly eventful night. During this extraordinary night Chris uncovers a government conspiracy, witnesses several murders, and commits one. He has to run for his life from scary, unseen pursuers and is forced to defend himself; his girlfriend, Sasha; his best friend, Bobby; and his dog, Orson, from a crazed pack of genetically altered Rhesus monkeys. He will watch his father die and will learn that his dead mother was much more than she seemed to be. Chris will discover during his long night's journey into day that there is much to fear in sleepy little Moonlight Bay. People and animals are not always what they seem. Even the night, which has until now served as Chris's shield against the daylight, will come to be seen as a potentially lethal enemy. Chris must uncover his town's undeniably deadly secret if he is to save his friends, his dog, and his world. This book is highly recommended. Koontz thinks this is his best work to date, and he may just be right. The action is nonstop, and the characters, both good and bad, are entirely believable. So lock all the doors, turn on all the lights, and get ready to spend a wild night in Moonlight Bay. VOYA Codes: 5Q 5P S (Hard to imagine it being better written, Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Koontz (Sole Survivor, LJ 2/15/97) presents a masterly tale of one night in the California coastal town of Moonlight Bay as experienced by Chris Snow. Saddled with a genetic defect that makes direct sunlight toxic to him, Snow is a nocturnal creature whose father has just died. When he discovers that his father's corpse has been stolen, he begins pursuit. Koontz expertly illuminates Snow's nocturnal world and friends, and incrementally, cleverly, the crises erupting in Moonlight Bay take shape. The plot is wonderfully unpredictable, and though the surfer slang wears thin after a while, the narrative remains taut. Although the ending leaves some questions unanswered, this is still good entertainment.-- Robert C. Moore, DuPont Merck Pharmaceuticals, Framingham, Mass.
Christopher Snow understands the night. He, like the owl, is nocturnal, living on the mysterious darker edge of society. Snow is afflicted with xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare and often-fatal genetic disease that makes ultraviolet rays-even those from lamps and televisions-deadly. His condition makes him a pariah in the isolated small town of Moonlight Bay where the ignorant and insensitive fear what they do not know. As the action begins, Snow's father dies, leaving him with only a handful of offbeat but fiercely loyal friends to turn to for understanding. At the morgue, Snow accidentally witnesses his father's body being replaced with the mutilated corpse of a vagrant. Before he can find out what is behind this scandal, he receives a frantic summons from a friend who is brutally murdered before she can finish explaining a strange story about monkeys and a secret project at the government compound at the edge of town. What begins as a disturbing puzzle quickly becomes a sinister conspiracy as Snow uncovers evidence of uncanny intelligence in many of the local animals and inhumanely vicious tendencies in some of the human residents of the Bay. They are "becoming" he learns, but becoming what? Chilling chase scenes steadily increase the breakneck pace as Snow, assisted by his remarkable dog, is pursued through the night by unseen forces. Despite some clunky and unnecessary surfer slang, fans will go wild for this well-plotted thriller.- Robin Deffendall, Prince William Public Library System, VA